Manufacturing Industry Expands in March

The ISM Manufacturing Index rose to 51.8 points in March – up 2.3 points from February’s reading of 49.5. March’s reading marked the first expansion in the manufacturing sector in four months, as readings above 50 indicate expansion in the manufacturing industry. Of the eighteen industries, twelve reported growth while five reported contraction.

The employment index registered 48.1 points in March, marking the fourth consecutive month of contraction. Six industries, including printing and related support activities, and nonmetallic mineral products reported employment growth, while nine industries including petroleum, paper products and apparel, reported contraction.

The index of new orders registered 58.3 points in March, up 6.8 points. Thirteen industries reported growth, while three industries reported a decrease in orders.

Export orders rose 5.5 points to 52.0, marking the highest reading since December 2014. Seven industries, including wood products and miscellaneous manufacturing reported growth during the month, while ten industries reported a decrease in export orders.

The inventories index registered 47.0 points, up 2 points from February’s reading. Inventories contracted in March for the ninth consecutive month.

Read the ISM release.